According to the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Minister Stephen Timms, Key decision makers will be the focus of a new campaign to raise awareness of the renewable energy sector. The campaign, “It’s Only Natural,” will seek to inform planners, investors and the wider community of the potential and benefits of renewable energy.Bristol, England – February 24, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] This first stage will center on England’s South West and provide additional support and information on renewable energy to planners in the region. It will also target the financial community by highlighting the investment potential of the renewable sector. Speaking at the first national Wave and Tidal Energy Conference in Bristol, Timms said this latest initiative was a sign of the UK Government’s commitment to renewable energy. “Our campaign will leave nobody in any doubt that renewables are at the heart of the Government’s energy policy,” Timms said. “Now this campaign will reinforce that message to investors and also equip planners with the tools they need to determine planning applications. The aim will be to provide information that will assist the planning system to make good, informed decisions — either in favor of a good scheme or against a bad scheme.” The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) teamed up with Regen SW, the renewable energy agency for the South West, to present the conference focusing on wave and tidal energy. “Although these technologies are prospects for the longer term, they have huge potential to supply a significant proportion of the country’s future energy needs and in turn make a significant contribution to our emissions reduction targets,” Timms said. “The UK is blessed with having one of the best marine resources available anywhere in the world. Since the Government introduced a wave-energy programme, great strides have been made in the development of marine energy systems in the UK.” BWEA welcomed the announcement of the campaign as further proof the UK Government means business on renewables. “We have some of the most innovative companies in the world pioneering the development of wave and tidal power,” BWEA Chief Executive Marcus Rand said. “With sustained Government and private sector support the UK will become not only a world leader in offshore wind but also in wave and tidal power.” Regen SW, which is core funded by the South West of England Regional Development Agency, praised the conference on wave and tidal energy as part of the South West’s contribution to ensuring that the UK will be at the forefront of the growth of world markets in green energy technologies. “The Government’s offer to provide extra support to the planning system in the South West is a boost to this region’s ambition to be a leader in renewable energy,” Regen SW Chief Executive Matthew Spencer said.